The Gorilla Jackpot

Endangered western lowland gorillas were discovered in the Republic of Congo.© Cincinnati Zoo

Researchers with the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced last week that they had discovered some 125,000 western lowland gorillas in the Republic of Congo. The find more than doubles the count of the endangered primates in the wild. Previous estimates from the 1980s pegged the number of living western lowland gorillas at less than 100,000 and falling fast due to threats such as the Ebola virus and increasing demand for bush meat.

The finding gives conservationists hope that their hard work is paying off. "This discovery should be a rallying cry for the world that we can protect other vulnerable and endangered species, whether they be gorillas in Africa, tigers in India or lemurs in Madagascar," says Steven Sanderson of WCS.

Sources: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS); MSNBC